Training and compliance tools boost bottom line

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Keeping track of staff training and monitoring compliance with assurance scheme standards are just two of the immediate benefits for businesses using PigPro. Find out how farmers are benefiting from both PigPro and DairyPro below.

“As well as simplifying and speeding up the day-to-day admin around employee training records and providing evidence for compliance purposes, PigPro supports the ongoing development of individuals”, said Samantha Bradley, Knowledge Exchange Relationship Manager.

“That may be simply by providing an automatic reminder that further training is due or the opportunity to search the calendar for new training opportunities or local pig industry events.

“You can also use PigPro for more informal, on-farm training meetings or activities, meaning you build a complete development record for every individual, and it makes it easy to identify any gaps in learning.”

Improving perception of pig farming

“Over time, emphasis on training and development and an increasingly competent workforce will lead to improvements in the way they work, solve problems and help to improve pig performance.

“In turn, it will also benefit the overall perception of pig farming, building its credentials as a professional industry to help attract a new generation of employees who have an increasing desire to see opportunities from their employers for their career and development”, said Mrs Bradley.

“PigPro makes sure everyone’s training record is stored, including temporary or relief staff. People can be added on more than one unit, and employers can archive, start or stop access to an individual’s records to retain their full training history.”

Easier Red Tractor assessments

Pig producer Chris Leamon and his brother employ two people on their 300-sow farrow-to-finish unit. They’re currently using PigPro to record some of the key elements for compliance with Red Tractor, such as euthanasia training. “When we have our inspection, I can show records quickly using PigPro, instead of having to hunt through vet reports”, said Mr Leamon. 

“For some types of training – including euthanasia, which you need to keep doing every three years – the system has a function that will remind you before the time is up that it’s due for renewal, so you can make sure you’re always up-to-date for assurance.

"You can also see when stockmen have been on visits or to evening meetings.”

Pig farmer Chris Leamon crouched in a pen with pigs

Chris Leamon

Find out more about PigPro – your online training record

Nick Lawson, who looks after human resources and pig production at Rattlerow Farms finds these features really beneficial, with just over 10,000 sows and 180 staff across 52 sites.

“Using PigPro is a no-brainer for me – it is much more capable than using my Excel spreadsheet as I would have done before”, Mr Lawson said. “It’s simple to input information and easy to see a training record on one page. The key thing is it’s paperless, with everything stored in one place online and no need for big folders.

“You can also see on PigPro if local events are coming up, which has been really useful”, he said. “It’s modernising how we communicate with each other in the pig industry.”

Dairy Pro offers similar benefits

For Justine and Graham Worsey and their children, Dairy Pro has not only simplified some aspects of their 230-cow dairy herd in Derbyshire – they feel it’s increasing their business opportunities too.

“When we had our Red Tractor assessment, we found it really easy to tick that box on professional training schemes. We just downloaded the training record, and everything was there for the inspector to look at”, explains Justine. 

“We were doing the training anyway, but it gave us a way of being able to record what we’d done and review the progress we’d made.

“Whoever does them, all the training courses come back to help the farm in some way. And as tenant farmers, this is another critical point – our whole profitability and even survival depend on impressing people and getting access to the land and finance we need.

“In applications – whether rent audit or tenancy or bank – we tell people we are in Dairy Pro, and we believe it gives us an edge by showing how seriously we take our business and our professionalism”, she added.

Dairy farmers Justine and Graham Worsey standing among their cattle in a field

Graham and Justine Worsey

Bottom line gains

Meanwhile, higher daily liveweight gains and earlier-calving replacements are just two of the benefits a Cornish dairy farming family is seeing from a focus on training and development.

Sharon and Guy Hawken run a 300-strong herd of Holstein-Friesians in North Cornwall. With their daughter and two sons progressively joining the business over the past decade, the family has been investing in new skills to increase efficiency across the 170 ha farm.

Sharon admits that they hadn’t always found a way to formally set aside time for personal development in the past, but with both their milk buyer and Red Tractor asking for up-to-date training records, joining Dairy Pro has helped them identify skill gaps and areas for improvement.

They can download all the collective records in one go to show during audits, and Sharon says they can see that being compliant with the rules is now delivering real improvements in terms of farm profitability. She refers to her daughter Chloe, who is really into training.

“For example, she’s completely changed how we rear our replacements”, said Sharon. “Strict health and feeding protocols are now in place, alongside comprehensive vaccination programmes. The upshot is better daily liveweight gains, with all heifers calving in at 22 to 24 months. And that’s taking waste out of the business.”

Find out more about Dairy Pro

Amimations explain key features of PigPro

A new suite of animations explain each part of PigPro, from how to create an account and log in, to how to record in-house training and search for external training and events. 

Mrs Bradley added that further features would continue to be added to both PigPro and Dairy Pro. “For example, for PigPro, we have an event registration app for training providers and event organisers to download onto a tablet to automate and simplify the registration process when people arrive.

"While, in future, attendees will be able to register for an online event, and the provider will update training records automatically.”

Find out more about our pork skills and training activities

Image of staff member Samantha Bradley

Samantha Bradley

Knowledge Exchange Relationship Manager (North) - Pork

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